Boshemia Mag- Origins Issue

Boshemia is an independent online and print magazine revolving around arts and culture through an energised, engaged, inclusive feminist lens. A global collective of storytellers and activists, with a core team based in UK, USA and France, and collaborators from all four corners of the earth.

The third time’s the charm! I am so lucky to have been included in Boshemia again. The theme of ORIGINS really resonated with me and I wrote several poems about my experiences along with those of my mother and grandmothers.

Poems include:

I foolishly forgot to send in some pics for the theme but here is one of me visiting my Pra Babcia’s (great grandmother) grave and another of my grandmother and some friends looking suave…

Pra Babcia (Great Grandmother)

My namesake--
though on naming
my mother never knew
was a Magdalena,
holds the only grave
with two cherubs 
and a weeping Mary
in the graveyard
that prohibits statues.
“There goes Magdalena:
even in death
making a scene.”

For my sister— 
when I chose
to fit the name Anna
to her tiny form,
how were we to know
it had been done again?
Her headstone sits
in leaf-washed light
not too far from mine
and every time we visit
my dad points out 
“She was a witch, you know.”


And though my child
will never be
an Edna or a Christine
I am glad 
for the ivy ties
the solid stone
that links me to the Babcia
that I could never know.

Ancestry.com

It was a little unexpected
when she looked
supposedly at a seedling,
the little sprout 
of her yet to grow 
family tree
she saw a full formed branch
just sitting there.

Stretching five or six
forgotten generations
it sat off to the side
of the stump of the rest 
of her sapling.

On losing her father
her mother had taken an axe
to that side of all things
to the tendril roots
and little leafed cousins.

Yet here they were
all mapped out
by someone who knew
and cared enough to
build and water
and sustain the truth.

So she reached out 
for the forgotten branch
and sent caterpillar notes
sent birdsong feelers
to find the ears
of a forgotten cousin.

Soon their tree
splayed easy twigs
held new branches high
and set its roots
and in between the leaves
came the chatter
of picking up a conversation
where you just left off.

Two Step

I am a two-step
from the home of my name
one I have to repeat
or spell out
or give up for ease or speed.

Though I keep the features
that my sister
doesn’t seem to have
the face called foreign
on some basic dating app.

The language is lost on me
a mother tongue
that my father never taught me
one laughed out by colleagues
tossed around the streets
falling flat to my ears.

But I am a two culture kid (two and a bit)
for who counts the stepped stone (of America)
when my name knots (with Slavic vowels)
and hot pierogi set the table (though badly made)
when the cold winters (I have never seen)
still warm my mix of blood. 

Issue 05 // ORIGINS // Summer 2019
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